Scholarships Available for New Entrepreneurship Training Program

launchuiuCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Feb. 23, 2016 – The Missouri Innovation Corporation (MIC) at Southeast Missouri State University announces that scholarship opportunities are now available for upcoming LaunchU classes as a part of its new entrepreneurship training program InnovateU.

LaunchU is a six-week hands-on course that coaches aspiring entrepreneurs and startups through the business planning process to determine business feasibility, including the actual development of a professional, Small Business Administration-approved business plan, pitch and financial forecast.

The first of the upcoming LaunchU classes will be held at Southeast Missouri State University-Sikeston starting March 8. The class will meet every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30-8:30 p.m. through April 14 and is being sponsored by First State Bank and Trust Company, Inc.

The course consists of instruction from a certified facilitator, small group activities, one-on-one business coaching, local experts as guest speakers, an Entrepreneur’s Workbook, and a three-month license for LivePlan. Known as the world’s leading business planning platform, LivePlan is built for entrepreneurs. The platform allows entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch, plan and track their business from anywhere in the world.

LaunchU incorporates the curriculum formerly known as Operation JumpStart: First Step created by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation with the cloud-based business planning software LivePlan to educate aspiring and early stage entrepreneurs on the must-knows and ins-and-outs of business planning, pitching and tracking.

“Entrepreneurship training and research is the cornerstone of the work that is done by the Missouri Innovation Corporation,” said Dr. Gerald McDougall, dean of Southeast’s Harrison College of Business and chief executive officer of the Missouri Innovation Corporation. “Recognizing that our former Operation JumpStart program needed to evolve to fit the needs of today’s entrepreneur, we redeveloped our training model and now have a fresh, user-friendly program.”

Crystal Jones, interim director of Southeast’s Institute for Regional Innovation and Entrepreneurship, added, “Offering LaunchU in the Missouri Bootheel is an important goal of ours. The economic challenges faced by the region with the recent announcement of the Noranda Aluminum plant closure are great, and we are dedicated to helping in recovery efforts. Knowing that small businesses are the primary job creators, offering the LaunchU course will help offset some of those employment challenges in the future.”

First State Bank and Trust Company, Inc.’s sponsorship provides 20 scholarships to cover the entire cost of the course for interested entrepreneurs — a $95 value. Due to the limited class size and limited number of scholarships available, participants must submit an application by March 3. Scholarships are awarded as applications are received.

“First State Bank and Trust is dedicated to helping our communities grow and succeed,” said Matt Drake, community bank president. “We understand the value of small businesses in rural Missouri and are a proud supporter of initiatives that help develop entrepreneurs.”

At the end of the course, class participants will compete to win one startup assistance package of $500 as well as pro bono marketing, accounting and legal consulting services provided by BOLD Marketing and Cory C. Fitzgerald, a Certified Public Accountant.

“We are pleased to partner with the Missouri Innovation Corporation to offer LaunchU in Sikeston, and we look forward to seeing the positive outcomes in our rural community,” said Zachary Fayette, community bank vice president.

Applications for the Sikeston class may be submitted at the Missouri Innovation Corporation, located in the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 920 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or online at

LaunchU classes, dates and times are still being developed for the Kennett and Poplar Bluff communities. Interested entrepreneurs are asked to contact Training Program Coordinator Gabrielle Penca at (573) 651-5095 or

About the Missouri Innovation Corporation

The Missouri Innovation Corporation is one of 10 state-supported innovation centers across Missouri, and is located within Southeast’s Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The MIC is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering business and community development to create new, high-value jobs and positive economic benefits for the University and the region. For more information about the MIC and the entrepreneurial support services it offers, contact (573) 651-2929 or visit